Canadian hair-metal legends Gypsy Rose seem fit to release unreleased and never before heard material during 2018. Things are happening quickly in the Gypsy Rose camp at the moment. Frontman Michael Ross revealed on his Facebook page that he is sorting through almost 20 tapes of archive material.
Michael Ross started out as a drummer for a local band in Sarnia, Ontario called Vehicle. When the band didn’t want to record or play the songs he penned he started a new band called Shattered Heart and left Vehicle. The band formed in the mid-1980’s as Shattered Heart and was made up of lead vocalist Michael Ross, guitarist Bryan Joyce, Bryan‘s brother Chris Joyce on keyboards, Scott Charlton on drums and Tim Payne handling the bass duties. Together they won a local band competition in which the prize was to record a song for a compilation album. The vinyl album that featured one Shattered Heart song was called Q107 Homegrown Volume 8 and was released on MCA Records in 1986. Shattered Heart was picked from hundreds of contesting bands and the song in question recorded for the compilation was called “Need You Tonight”. The music was a bit more AOR oriented than what could be heard on Gypsy Rose classic album Prey – released in 1990 on RCA/Simmons Records. Before then Shattered Heart became Secret Affair – a reincarnation of the band that recorded both live shows and studio material yet to be heard by the general public.
The story goes that when Gene Simmons heard a version of future single and video “Poisoned by Love” at RCA office in New York he signed the band on the spot. When being signed to RCA/Simmons Records there was a big change in the lineup and the band was rechristened Gypsy Rose. Only Michael and Bryan remained, who were joined by new guitarist Craig Van Gavern, bass player Michael Vaughn and drummer Steven Thomas. The only constant during all these years has been lead vocalist and frontman Michael Ross and his right wingman, guitarist Bryan Joyce. At the same time the songwriting took a turn to the heavier side of things and the AOR of Secret Affair gave place to the sleazier hard rock of Prey which was a perfect fit to Ross´s voice. The album was produced by Gene Simmons.
Gypsy Rose toured supporting Prey but all the promises made by the record company never came to be and drummer Steven Thomas left the band disillusioned and was replaced by Shattered Heart drummer Scott Charlton, who came back to the band. Internal tension was mounting within the band however and with a changing musical climate, not in favor of Gypsy Rose‘s brand of melodic hard rock, the band called it quits in the early part of the 1990’s. Among the material now being rediscovered are songs recorded for a proposed second album that never materialized.
In 2012 a CD called Poisoned by Love was released by US label FNA Records. The album contained archive material recorded for Prey as well as a few Michael Ross solo tracks plus a few newly recorded acoustic versions of classic songs. A few gigs were played in support of the album, among others at The Rockpile in Toronto. After that release, everything went silent again until now. Besides releasing newly found archive material, the new line up of Gypsy Rose are about to embark on gigs and select festivals during 2018. The Gypsy Rose of 2017 consists of lead vocalist Michael Ross, bass player Rob Laidlaw (also in Honeymoon Suite and who played on Prey) and original Gypsy Rose drummer Steven Thomas. The band has not yet announced who will be handling the guitar in future live shows. Many fans hope to see a reunion of the classic Prey line up featuring Bryan Joyce and Craig Van Gavern but that seems unlikely, however.
Just recently Michael Ross teamed up with a female fan outside Detroit who had been saving a copy of almost every tape (DAT and analog) that Shattered Heart/Secret Affair/Gypsy Rose had ever recorded throughout the years. It quickly became a priority for Ross to acquire those copies and digitizing them. These tapes are what Gypsy Rose will tap into and open up the archives during 2018.
Michael Ross:“I’m in a great place now with my life and she has saved 20 cassettes and 3 Dats of all my recordings from SHATTERED HEART… SECRET AFFAIR and GYPSY ROSE which I would have lost if not for her…Last night after dropping her off at her house it was very overwhelming to listen to all the songs Recorded in Studio….Live Recordings…..Board Tapes from sound man and demos Gypsy Rose had recorded for a hopeful 2nd record for Gene Simmons and tho it wasn’t released it will be I’m very sure in 2018…”
In what form it will see the light of day remains unclear at this point. 2018 promises to be a great year for fans of the band and with the promise of live shows, it seems likely the band will return to the music scene once more. Besides new releases and live shows a new website for Gypsy Rose has just recently been launched and is under expansion. There is also plans on a band biography which will be written by Norene Cashen.
While all this is taking place Prey still remains shelved and out of print for many years. Unfortunately, this has led to extensive bootlegging and new fans are forced to pay hard earned cash just to attain a bootleg copy of the album. This excellent piece of Canadian music history, therefore, craves for remastering and reissuing.